GymBug

I've caught it. Fortunately, it's not treatable.

Archive for the tag “cardio”

My first 10k race

Hi there!

I did it! This morning at 8:30am in Madrid I began my first ever 10km race at the Madrid Rock n Roll event. It was really different from my usual 10k runs (obviously) mainly because I set myself a target of 50 minutes. I’m so glad and proud to say not only did I not surpass this target, I was under! According to my Tom Tom Cardio GPS Watch I completed the 10k in 00:48:13, my official time (shown below) registered me at 00:49:48 with my “net time” being 00:48:21. This placed me 558/5408 overall, 48/2468 women and 4/128 category A!

Madrid Rock n Roll (4)

I’m not entirely clear on their timing method because some people with the same ‘official time’ but longer ‘net time’ were placed ahead of me in the official rankings! But it doesn’t matter! I ran a personal best for outdoor 10k (I ran 10k in just over 47 minutes on the treadmill) and I completed my first race, so I’m very pleased.

Madrid Rock n Roll (3)Madrid Rock n Roll

The atmosphere was brilliant. There was so many people cheering, great volunteers handing out water, medals, bananas, High5 taster packs and so on! Brilliant event that was well attended and everyone was in fantastic spirits despite the rain!

Madrid Rock n Roll (2) Madrid Rock n Roll (1)

I can’t recommend organised races enough! My next one is May 30th for the Edinburgh Marathon Festival 10k event!

Huge congratulations to all the racers today. And especially those who ran the marathon or half marathon, true inspiration!

Gym Bug

A step too far in tackling obesity?

Hi there!

I was on DailyMail (out of boredom, I don’t use it as my key news source) and the following article popped up; “Snacking ‘should be as shameful as smoking’. The article explains that Professor Susan Jebb has said that snacking on unhealthy foods and any meals served without vegetables should be seen as negatively as smoking in doors.

This is opening an already wide open door to socially obliterating obese people. It’s unfair. It’s also further widening the very dangerous door of social media inducing eating disorders such as disordered eating, anorexia, orthorexia nervosa and so on. By shaming people from having ‘an unhealthy meal’ or having ‘an unhealthy snack’ a stigma is being created surrounding these foods. A stigma I’ve fallen victim to myself.

Now I completely understand that we need to start doing something about the obesity  problem. It;s giving rise to a generation of overweight children, increasing the instances of diseases and is a heavy burden on public spending in the UK. But I do not believe making unhealthy foods ‘shameful’ is the way to do it. What about the people who live a healthy, balanced life? Are they not allowed to go out and enjoy a burger or a donut or a slice of cake? I know for a fact when I turn 21 this year I’ll be enjoying a delicious slice of cake and other little, delicious extras!

I believe the key to changing lifestyles is making it clear what health risks obese individuals face, the impact it has not only on themselves but their families, educating these people about how to deal with the issue and trying to life these stigma’s around foods. It’s also important to highlight how easy it can be to make small, healthy changes and start living a healthier lifestyle.

For example, make this more widely available

                                                                       The Eat Well Plate (UK)

There’s also some great resources out there that many proably do not know about. For example, there’s Change4Life in the UK offering tips, recipes, vouchers, information on local activities and support! Eat To Perform is another excellent source for information and some hard to hear facts that are incredibly motivating. (Side note, they’re articles help me deal with having to put on weight).

Now, I’m not saying this is the easiest thing to do. But it’s a lot easier than people think! It’s not about dieting (terrible word and I hate it) it’s about making healthy, sustainable changes in your life. Going for a walk everyday, having an apple instead of crisps (potato chips) at lunch, walking to the next bus stop, the small changes you can make today are endless! It’s also important not to be ashamed of not “eating 100% clean, 100% of the time”. What does that even mean-clean? Google ‘clean eating’ and I guarantee you’ll get numerous definitions!

Just try focus on eating good food, whole grains, vegetables, fruit, lean meats, protein and good fats. Get in a bit of cardio and weight training. Enjoy that slice of cake! Keep highly processed foods to a moderate amount, but don’t go cold turkey, trust me you’ll end binging, it’s not worth it!

If life becomes all about food and exercise (or not doing it) then it’s no fun. Again, trust me. I’m still coming out of some food and exercise related issues but I’m slowly learning food is to be enjoyed and 6-pack abs aren’t necesary to be happy!

Gym Bug

Should there be a Sugar Tax?

Hi there!

Today the BBC released an article about how imposing a sugar tax could help fund public health. It got me thinking, “Is a sugar tax a good idea?”. Patient UK has given a decent summary on why this would be good.

I believe a tax on ultra-processed, high sugar content foods is a good idea. The UK has a shockingly high obesity rate and introducing a tax (according to the Patient UK link) could see a reduction in 100 calores a day (on average). The tax would also provide more revenue for the government AND hopefully reduce spending on obesity and related diseases (such as type 2 diabetes). Personally, I also believe it would help people live a healthier lifestyle. At the moment, looking at the prices of foods is incredibly frustrating. Why would someone buy the ingredients for a healthy salad when a microwave burger is a fraction of the cost? Or why would someone buy apples as a snack when a huge bag of chocolate is cheaper? Something needs to be done to help people lead healthier lifestyles. It is a choice but if healthier food is more easily available and unhealthy food less so, maybe people will start making better choices!

Apologies if this appears as a rant, but a salad should not cost an arm and a leg and a burger should not cost next to nothing. It encourages unhealthy habits and fuels the obesity epidemic we’re witnessing today. What’s worse is that marketing campaigns for junk food and sugary products are heavily targetted at children. They are the most vulnerable members of our society when it comes to marketing campaigns and ofcourse if they see Powerade advertised as a sports drink, they’ll guzzle one down straight after P.E, essentially undoing their work (given the amount of sugar in a Powerade). Don’t get me wrong, sports drinks can be incredibly useful sources of energy and recovery but only when you’re enduring hard, intense exercise. P.E is not hard nor is it intense. These children are being brought up surrounded by temptation, it’s not fair.

Everyone is feeling the financial squeeze given the crisis that unfortunately hit the UK and the world, so in theory, by increasing the price of unhealthy products, you’ll decrease the demand. It can only be beneficial for the long term health of the population and help generate further revenue to help the econom get out of this slump. (P.S I’m a business student).

So, that’s my idea on the whole subject. What’s yours? Is a sugar tax a good idea? Will it help?

Gym Bug

Un-dull the gym bike

Hi there!

Today was cardio day and I did a mix of treadmill work and bike work. Anyone that’s used a gym bike repeatedly probably understands that it can get quite monotonous and boring and the drive to keep pushing yourself dwindles away relatively quickly. However, today I tried a different type of bike session involving my gym playlist on my iPod. It’s almost like a little game you play against yourself. It’s really easy but can get your heart rate soaring at times, so it’s a really good HIIT workout.

Basically, after your warm-up start your chosen playlist. You want to have a mix of heavy, fast songs and slightly slower ones to achieve a mix of strength and speed work. Once you’ve started your HIIT session you cannot touch your iPod unless it’s to change the volume. The idea is that from now until cool-down you have to match the beat of the song that’s playing. No changing. To achieve the beat you need to change the resistance to allow you to match the beat whilst still working hard. If a really fast song comes on do not drop all resistance and let your legs freewheel. Make yourself work! What you’ll find is that instead of watching the clock you’re concentrating on the song and trying to think of any changes in the beat or how a particular song goes. It distracts you from the time and has you challenging yourself. It’s quite fun!

A couple of really good songs to have on your playlist can be found in my previous post here.

Give it a go and let me know what you think!

Gym Bug

I’m trying something new!

Hi there!

So I’ve decided to mix up my gym routine completely in an attempt to tone up more and put on more muscle mass. I’ve decided to now have “body part days” in the following format;

Day 1; leg and bum day
Day 2; arm, back and shoulder day
Day 3; cardio

I will then repeat this process again to maintain my usual 6 days a week at the gym!

I decided it was time to change up my routine and doing 3 days of cardio was seeing me not gain enough muscle mass (I was losing weight, didn’t want that). Mixing up also means more motivation as I’m not stuck doing the same again.

I shall keep any readers updated on how I think it’s going! First time I focus so much on my weight lifting!

Gym Bug

Getting Motivated

Hi there!

Hope everyone is enjoying the New Year! Since it’s a New Year you may be looking to change up your training, do something different, explore a new way of fitness? Well, I have a few challenges you may be interested in trying out to get that extra kick you need to make 2015 a great and healthy year!

I’ve already written about Spartan Race and Tough Mudder and I recommend checking those posts out! (of course I do) but there’s also plenty more motivational challenges to take up!

If getting super filthy and electrocuted is not your thing there are plenty others to take a look at. If you’re a Rock ‘n’ Roll fan (or just keen to run) then ‘Rock and Roll Edinburgh Half Marathon & 10K’ could be right up your alley! They have events all over the world! I’m going to enter the Madrid 10km in April. Check it out!

Not a runner? No problem! What about doing a combination of cycling, climbing and canoeing in the Lake District? This one is a lot more expensive (£195 plus min. £2,000 sponsorship) but it looks incredible and all money raised goes to Action Medical Research (helping families cope with early babies, disabled children or caring for a child with a rare disease). You join a team of 3 other people to cycle 50 miles through the Lake District before climbing Mt Helvellyn and then finishing off with a canoe trip to Lake Thirlmere. Sounds tough!

If you’re more of a water baby then why not give the Great Swim a go? It proudly boasts the fact that it’s Europe’s biggest open water swim series in clean lakes, lochs and urban docks all over Britain. It’s the first year it has an official charity which is the phenomenal Macmillan Cancer Support, but you can raise money for any charity you wish. It’s throughout Britain between June and August.

For those of you that are up for a tough, gruelling triathlon that also raises money for blood cancer research then the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research Blenheim Palace Triathlon is for you! (What a mouth full!) Again, it’s more expensive (but it’s a great cause) Registration costs from £82.50 and you need a min. sponsorship of £300. It takes place in Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire. You can race individually or as a team.

You should take a look at local runs too. Park Run is a brilliant organisation that free, weekly, timed 5km races around the world. The linked website is specifically for the UK but Google it to find out about any in your area! It’s a great way to meet runners and set yourself a weekly motivational goal!

This is literally a teeny, tiny teaspoonful of what’s out there in terms of charity sporting events, take a good look and pick your motivation! I’ve got Spartan Race in a few months and it’s constantly motivating me to keep pushing a little harder. With my injury my aerobic fitness is plummeting but with the knowledge that I have to endure a grueling 8 mile obstacle course I know I’ll be fighting fit again in no time!

So choose your challenge and get going!

Gym Bug

Getting oot’n’aboot

Hi there!

For non Scottish readers “oo’n’aboot” translates to ” out and about”. It’s highly stereotypical and I love the phrase, I have no idea why. Anyway, now that I’m home I do not have access to a gym, which is really, really, really nice. I get to spend my cardio days outside in the gorgeous (haha) Scottish weather.

I love getting out and going for a good run outdoors. My first run since returning was great and it didn’t feel like a workout. I ran at an average pace of 5.33 minutes per km, which was faster than I usually run and I really enjoyed being outdoors rather than looking at my reflection in the gym window on the treadmill. Not getting sweat in my eyes was also an added bonus.

Running outdoors is not only more aesthetically pleasing, it also has additional heath benefits that you can’t get from a gym. Outdoor running means you’re exposed to a variety of different terrains. This adds to the development of muscles in your legs and gets them nice and strong!
Anyone who has run outdoors will also have probably, at least once, faced wind. Running against the wind requires more energy which requires more calories! You won’t get that kind of natural resistance in a gym.
You get fresh air! The gym can become a hot box and the air becomes thick and warm, but outdoors your lungs, body and mind can rejuvenate and benefit from getting decent fresh air.
I also find that running outdoors leaves me feeling more refreshed. I can come in from a run outside feeling more energised. I attribute this mainly to the fact that I’m not drowning in my own sweat and I smell of outside.

If you can’t run, I still recommend trying to get outside as much as possible. There’s so much to do! Go for a walk, a hike, a cycle, even sit outside and enjoy the fresh air. A well-balanced, healthy lifestyle is not achieved by powering it out in a gym. You need nature to help keep your lungs and mind fresh!

If you do decide to go outside for a run and don’t want a monotonous run, try mix it up a bit. You can sprint for 1-minute and jog for 1-minute (or any length of time). I like finding a hill and doing hill runs too. There’s a long hill next to my house and I find a good, challenging run is to run one full length at a moderate pace, walk down, sprint half the hill, walk to the bottom and repeat for a maximum of 5 times. I don’t plan on going beyond 5 repetitions of this because it will most likely end in injury. Instead I focus on improving my speed and recovery.

So get out there and enjoy the fresh air!

Gym Bug

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/treadmill-vs-running-outside.html

http://healthontrack.info/outdoor-running-benefits/

Tom Tom Runner Cardio GPS Watch

Hi there!

A while ago, for my birthday, I was given the Tom Tom Cardio GPS Watch. It’s been months since I received it but I wanted to give it a really good go before I spoke about it. And, since there’s been a couple of gaps in posts and I’m wide awake at 6am I thought I would tell you a little bit more about it! What appealed to me about it was the fact that it has a heart rate monitor, which is a more accurate measure of calorie burn and fitness improvement. It’s a great way to keep track of how well you’re doing throughout your training and that was a major appeal to me. The heart rate monitor is also not a strap around your chest (which I’ve heard can be annoying). The heart rate monitor is placed underneath the watch face and is an optical monitor. A rather bright green light (do not look into it) will appear when the watch is active and this measures your pulse on the top of your wrist to measure your heart rate. Another appeal is the GPS tracking device that is very accurate and can be paired with an app on your laptop, smart phone, tablet etc to get a really nice looking presentation of each of your runs and your progress.

Fit The fitting of this watch is important. The heart rate monitor will not work properly unless it’s placed in the correct place on your wrist, which is just above the wrist bone. It’s not uncomfortable fortunately, even though you have to fasten the watch in such a way the watch fits snugly. The fit is tighter than I wear a normal watch, but the wide strap makes it more a comfortable fit . The strap is wide and fastens very securely, so there’s no movement on the run (at least there shouldn’t be it you’ve tightened it enough). Once fitted, the watch is pretty quick at detecting your heart rate.

image image image

Use Once you’ve excitedly torn the watch from it’s impressively sturdy plastic box you need to charge it. It’s a relatively quick process and once it’s charged it’s very easy to get started. You can fill in all your details regarding your age, height, weight and gender to get accurate readings. It is also possible to have it in pounds or kilograms, miles or kilometres and centimetres or feet. Once fully charged the battery lasts between 4-6 hours, depending on length of your runs. Using the watch is really easy. There is one large button underneath the watch face that you use to navigate through the menu. There’s 3 options for running; run, treadmill or stopwatch. You can custom the run into sprint, speed, endure, fat burn and easy. It’s a super easy watch to navigate which is brilliant. Also, I know other runners who have touch sensitive watches and running in the rain makes it a nightmare sometimes to use them, this one does not have this problem! It is also waterproof (although I do not recommend showering with it on). The GPS element of the watch is also quick. I typically don’t initiate the GPS loading until I’m outside walking towards my gate and usually by the time I’ve gotten to the gate (about 30 seconds) the watch is ready to go. Once you start running you can have the watch display calories, distance, time, heart rate or average pace. If you have customised your run, for example to sprints, it will beep and vibrate to inform you of when to speed up or slow down, so you don’t need to be constantly looking down to monitor your pace (which results in a time check, which can be hard). During your run you can pause the run very easily by holding down the left button for 3 seconds, then to re-start the run you press the right button. The screen moves fluently through the menus and is easy to read whilst bobbing up and down. You can also activate a light by touching the actual face of the watch, the back light is powerful and brilliant for less than ideal visibility. Post-run you can check your run statistics on numerous channels. The first is the actual watch, via the ‘History’ option, you can also sync it via bluetooth to your smartphone or tablet if you have the Tom Tom Sports app (recommended). You can also set it up on your laptop or computer and plug it in via USB. The bluetooth connection takes a bit longer than the USB but sometimes it’s less hassle to sync via bluetooth than boot up a laptop! Monitoring your progress is very easy with the Tom Tom app (laptop/smart phone/tablet version) interface. You can see all your runs in chronological order and by clicking on it you can see a map of where you ran plus graphs showing elevation, speed, calories and average pace. It also very easy to use.

Overall This is my first running watch, but I’ve used a couple of Garmin watches in passing and I’ve got to say, the Tom Tom experience for me has been a lot better. I find it a lot easier to use and the built-in heart rate monitor is the real deal breaker or me. I can’t imagine having to wear a chest strap (a sports bra is enough, thank you). The watch fits well, doesn’t rub and gives me an in-depth analysis of my run. You can also connect the device to websites such as The Running Bug, which allows you to track your runs and exercise on a social network. It’s both brilliant for the gym and running outside.

I won’t lie, I had issues with this watch regarding the heart rate monitor. Upon arriving in Spain the heart rate monitor started to cut out when I got sweaty (which was very quick, given it was 30°C or higher). However, I contacted Tom Tom support, who very quickly got the watch repaired for me! Tom Tom’s quick and careful service ensured I would actually review this watch. I can accept sometimes things malfunction and Tom Tom’s professional handling of the mistake makes me believe the watch is definitely worth buying because if something doe go wrong, Tom Tom will help.

So, if you’re looking for a new running watch and want good, accurate readings, go for this one! You can also get it’s sister Tom Tom Multi Sport Cardio GPS Watch, which has additional settings for cycling and swimming. The Runner comes in black and red or red and white and whilst it does have a high price (standard RRP of £219.99, I got mine on Wiggle for £190 on offer) it is worth it if you’re really focused on training and improving. The watch can also be a great source of motivation as it pushes you to keep trying to improve your performance. Looking at your progress on the app and seeing it displayed run by run really motivates you to try “shaves those last few seconds off”. It also helps you get the most out of your workout. I really love my watch and it’s easy use, comfortable fit and sleek technology definitely make it one of my better purchases! Last minute Christmas gift, anyone?

Hope everyone has an excellent Friday and an even better weekend!

Gym Bug

Fit Not Thin

Hi there!

In the midst of my revision I stumbled upon this article (it’s in Spanish) which talks about the editor of de Revistas de El Mercurio (Mercury Magazines). She has decided that they will no longer photoshop any photographs featured in their publications, only use models who are 18 or older and not use any model with a BMI below 18.5. BRILLIANT.

I understand there’s this constant pressure for people to be thin or incredibly muscular, I’ve felt it and it’s horrible. What this magazine is doing is perfect and something that needs to be done by all of them. People have been saying for ages it’s time to change the way the media represents what’s socially accepted as ‘beautiful’.

If you’re looking to be slim, this blog is not for you. Healthy? Then I’d like to think some of my experiences, posts and insights can help you. It’s so easy to make small changes to start you on your path to becoming FIT AND HEALTHY;

  • Reduce saturated fat intake; swap semi-skimmed/whole milk for skimmed milk, for example.
  • Reduce refined sugar intake; as simple as having an apple instead of a chocolate bar as a snack.
  • Fit in exercise; it can be a 7-minute HIIT session or a 30-minute walk. Check out my post on HIITLIIT  (lower intensity interval training) or have a look at strength workouts (one example linked for a bodyweight workout) for more information.
  • Make smart swaps; wholewheat pasta/rice/bread instead of white, refined bread/pasta/rice, for example.
  • Do a bit of trial and error; there’s not a ‘one size fits all’ plan for leading a fit and healthy lifestyle, try things out, do some research.
  • Do it with friends/family; it’s added motivation, you don’t want to stop until they do and chances are they feel the same so you won’t stop until you’re done.
  • Don’t give up; you will slip up, you’re allowed, just make sure it doen’t completel demotivate you and stop you from reaching your end goal.
  • Set a goal; fit into that pair of jeans, get to a healthier weight, tone up a bit. Whatever it is, set it and tell people what it is, that way you’ll find more motivation to stick with it and avoid being a ‘quitter’. Setting challenges such as a marathon, 10k, Tough Mudder, Spartan Race etc are also great motivators (you don’t really want to be photographed as a pile on the floor, you want to be photographed holding that medal or tackling that obstacle).
It doesn’t have to be a huge mountain, small steps can make big changes.
Gym Bug

Lower Intensity Interval Training

Hi there!

I found another variation to an extremely dull treadmill session! It’s slightly lower in intensity than my 1-minute off, 1-minute on one which is good if you’re wanting to a good workout but for whatever (legit) reason can’t quite manage it. Don’t let the title fool you, this will still get your heart rate up and you nice and sweaty (if you’re inside, although an outdoor treadmill seems a bit dodgy). Lower intensity should not mean easy, it should be slightly easier than you high intensity.

It’s really straightforward and you can alternate it really easily into different workout lengths.

First thing is first warm up for 5-minutes; best to start at a brisk walk and build up to your recovery pace (run at recovery for at least 1-minute and 30 seconds).

Now the fun begins.
2- minutes at a medium-intensity incline (I use 6%)
1- minute recovery pace
2-minutes at a fast run (I use 14.5 km per hour)
1-minute recovery pace
Repeat for desired length of time.
Cool down (5-minutes)

There you have it! It’s lighter but still incorporates a bit of interval training. This is good for beginners, a slightly more relaxed workout or to try improve endurance or build up your speed (maybe you’ve got a race coming up?)
If you’re looking to improve speed then best do repeated sessions of 2-minutes at a fast run instead!

Have a great day, we are half way through the week! You’ve got this.

Gym Bug

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